Finding the right men's swimwear isn't always an easy task. If you're not a spandex Speedo guy, you're probably going with board shorts, but when riding up, chafing, and just being flat-out ugly, are common problems, it can be tricky to find something that checks every box. Classic boardie brands like Billabong, Prana, Volcom, Hurley, O'neill, and Quiksilver still make excellent board shorts, but we've always taken pride rounding up some of the smaller trending brands that often fly under the radar when it comes to mainstream surfwear.
With design in mind, these fashion-forward board short brands make comfortable and functional men's swim trunks, and they (mostly) don't break the bank. They're proving that men's board shorts don't have to be boring (or feature Hawaiian print patterns). Whether you're hitting the beach, catching some waves, or just lounging around town, these swimsuits hit the overlap between style and purpose.
The 11 Best Boardshorts for Surfing
With design and coastal living in mind, Banks Journal brings a fusion of Japanese and Australian styles together to create a clothing line that is reminiscent of the coastal lifestyle the two founders love. The Darcy McRae boardshorts have a slim build and an old-school style that's perfect for hitting the beach or strolling around the boardwalk.
It is no surprise that pro surfer John John Florence would make the ultimate swim trunks for surfers. Details like a lack of inseam stitching are so you can focus on paddling out for waves instead of chafing. Quick drying material makes it easy to transition from the ocean to land, and the color block waistband is an extra detail that gives these shorts a little extra style.
With four-way stretch and non-abrasive fabric, these boardies make for perfect swimwear that will perform no matter how gnarly the waves get. The design also features a wet seal self-draining back pocket that's perfect for storing your keys or a re-up of wax. With timeless neutral colors and classic designs, these are your perfect staple—and affordable—board short.
With a colorway inspired by the Gulf Racing livery, Birdwell's Le Mans board short is detailed just like the iconic GT40 race car from the 1960s. These trunks are meant for durability at any speed, too, with a triple lace closure, SurfNyl fabric, and triple-stitched seams.
With a store in Tokyo and in Brooklyn, Pilgrim Surf Supply is the perfect curation of surfwear for urban dwellers. The nylon-polyester Dorry shorts feature a slightly shorter length than your classic boardshorts with a 17' outseam. There's a button flap back pocket with a key loop for storing anything you need while you're out in the ocean and branding is kept to a minimum with an embroidered Pilgrim logo on the hem.
Made in New York City, these water shorts from Nu Swim are made with slightly iridescent nylon and feature a hidden side pocket, internal drawcord, and a lightweight mesh lining for maximum comfort. These hybrid shorts are unisex and function well in the water and on land. At the beach or paired with a simple t-shirt for walking around the city on a hot day, these could be your new go-to shorts.
Preppy meets modern with Saturdays' Timothy Seersucker striped swim shorts. With a stretchy and breathable fabric and a six-inch inseam, they're perfect for any movement whether you're longboarding, short boarding, or just hanging out on the beach. Features include side pockets with mesh interiors for accessibility to everyday essentials, a back pocket with a velcro closure, and a drawstring waistband.
The Greenough board short is a gender-free short with a highly functional design suited for any body type. With Japanese four-way stretch nylon, they're ideal for the actual needs of surfing (and their surf-loving designers tested them themselves). The subtly abstract tie-dye print with neon drawstring detailing ensure that you'll stand out without being over the top.
La Paz aims to work with local manufacturers to create sustainable and timeless pieces that are inspired by the sea. These boardies are made with a recycled polyester shell created from plastics recovered from the ocean, so that they are not only inspired by the ocean but also from it. The Morais swim shorts are part of La Paz's Small World Collection, which aims to create garments with planet-first manufacturing methods.
If you're looking for a long-standing classic, you have to look at Patagonia's Baggies. These best-sellers are multifunctional in design and are meant to be worn either in or out of the water. The latest version is now made of quick-drying NetPlus recycled nylon fabric that's made from fishing nets to help reduce ocean plastic pollution and the creation of new petroleum products.
Arguably the best surfer in the world, 11x World Champion Kelly Slater is probably a trustworthy source of intel on what makes a good pair of swim trunks for surfing. The Apex trunks use an ultralight four-way stretch fabric to get there, and their fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles. They're also quick-drying, have bonded seams (read: no stitching, no chafing) and have a back pocket with a waterproof zipper. They're pretty darn stylish, too.